This is the eighth in the ongoing series of posts compiling the most recent publicly available developments surrounding the litigation Commonly Known As Rakofsky v. Internet, in which New Jersey attorney Joseph Rakofsky has sued some 81 media organizations, professional institutions and, above all, individual legal bloggers, claiming that he was damaged by those defendants' publication of reports and commentary on his performance as defense counsel in a murder trial in Washington, D.C., and issues appurtenant thereto. All installments in this series are collected in the Rakofsky v. Internet category of this blog.
There were no Decs&Excs Rakofsky updates for the past two weeks, as the case slipped in to something of an early summer lull. No more: at week's end, several new motions were filed by freshly-appearing defendants. In addition, the court has now scheduled a hearing date concerning the long-pending motion to admit Marc Randazza pro hac vice to appear on behalf of the Group of 35 defendants that includes this blog.
As always, action in the courthouse has been monitored and reported by [my co-defendant and New York local counsel] Eric Turkewitz. Yesterday
(July 21), Eric posted no less than three new Motions to Dismiss:
- Motion to Dismiss on behalf of the Washington Post, Post writer Keith Alexander and Post researcher Jennifer Jenkins.
The Washington Post's reporting is generally believed to have been the first coverage of the Dontrell Deaner mistrial, and most if not all of the subsequent commentary traces back to those reports.
- Motion to Dismiss of Georgia attorney Jeanne O'Halloran.
The O'Halloran motion includes two previously unseen pieces of the record in the Deaner murder trial: the reporter's transcript of proceedings on
March 31 in which Joseph Rakofsky initially raised the issue of his being removed as counsel for the defendant, and the motion of investigator Adrian Bean that first raised the question of whether Bean had been asked to "trick" a potential witness.
- Motion to Dismiss of Washington City Paper and its writer, Rend Smith. The City Paper is a free journal that first reported on the Deaner mistrial on April 4, shortly following the Post's initial report.
With the appearance of the Post and the City Paper, and the prior filing on behalf of Reuters, the principal institutional defendant not yet heard from is the American Bar Association/ABA Journal. There is no information circulating concerning whether the ABA has been served and when, if at all, its response is due to be filed.
All of the motions previously reported remain pending, without a decision by the Court. This past week, the Court scheduled a hearing date in September on the motion to admit Marc Randazza as counsel in New York for the limited purpose of representing his clients as defendants in the Rakofsky case.
[Update 7/23/11 0740 PDT]: The Court has issued an order granting the motion (discussed here) of Richard Borzouye to withdraw as counsel for the plaintiffs. Eric Turkewitz has the full text of the order here. In order to permit Joseph Rakofsky time in which to retain new counsel for himself and, particularly, for his law firm (which as a corporation cannot appear in the case without an attorney), the Court has stayed all further proceedings until September 14. The motion regarding admission of Marc Randazza remains scheduled for hearing on September 15.
Rakofsky v. the Internet has continued to gobble up global mindshare in recent weeks, migrating from the Internet to your local cable or satellite television service in the form of a "bumper" on Cartoon Network's [adult swim]. That's it at the top of this post, in an embeddable version found via [bump worthy]. The misspelling of "mistrial" in the faux-Facebook item is a nice touch.
Another sighting of Rakofsky in the wild is reported by [defendant] Nathaniel Burney:
(Mr. Burney, it may be recalled, was not originally a party to the Rakofsky litigation, complained about it, and got his wish by being joined as an additional defendant in the Amended Complaint. He runs a thriving lightning rod distributorship on the side.)
[Defendant] Mark Bennett took the opportunity to review [what is in some circles speculated to be] Joseph Rakofsky's Craigslist Ad to Replace his attorney, and to offer helpful suggestions toward its revision.
The Rakofsky Weekend Update will return to Decs&Excs next week, barring the unlikely event that nothing happens in Rakofskyworld in the next seven days. The Rakofsky Weekend Update will return as developments warrant. In light of the stay order described in the Update above, this feature will likely be on hiatus for at least a week or two, and possibly until the Court rules following the September 15 hearing.
Disclosure/Disclaimer: I am a defendant in the Rakofsky case, one of the jointly defended group I refer to above as the "Group of 33 35," because of my having written this post; I commented previously on my involvement in the action here. To the extent that I may have any non-public information concerning the case, my policy is not to share it in these update posts.
Mark Bennett continues to maintain and update a thorough compendium of links to Rakofsky-related posts on his blog, Defending People. My own selection of links is purely subjective and not intended to be comprehensive, so I recommend regular consultation of the ever-expanding Compendio Bennetticus for the fullest range of blog responses to Rakofsky v. Internet. The Compendio achieved a milestone this week when Mr. Bennett announced:
The progress of the case through the courts is also being monitored on the Rakofsky v. Internet "Threat Page" maintained by the Citizen Media Law Project, although at this writing that page has not been updated since late June.